International Project Management Commission for Professionals in PMMaster Project Manager LogoCertified International Project Manager Logo Jobs and Careers MPM Masters Certificate in Project Management American Academy of Project Management Management Consulting Financial Management Logo HR Certification
Project Manager Careers and Jobs for Professionals Certified in Project Management



Sign in powered by CareerBuilder.com
Career Advice : Is Your Dream Job a Reality?

Is Your Dream Job a Reality?

Michael Gregory, author of "The Career Chronicles: An Insider's Guide to What Jobs Are Really Like."

  • Email

As we progress through our educational pursuits, we all are faced with one of the most important decisions of our lives: "What do I want to do with my life?"

There are over 16 million students enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States. A very large percentage of these students entered without a clue as to what career or profession they should select. Yet at some point, relatively early in their collegiate experience, they must declare a major.

For most students, the decision is rarely a clear one. For many it can extend the time it takes to graduate because they elect to change their major at least once. These individuals come to a realization that the career path they mapped out for themselves does not fit their goals, their personality or their picture of the future. Others simply defer this pivotal life decision by escaping into graduate school, hoping that immersion into a particular area of concentration will somehow provide them with the career direction they are seeking.

Even those individuals who felt drawn to a particular profession early in their college life can find after several years of real world experience, that their initial image of a career and the realities of such are vastly different. And for millions of other Americans each year, the need to re-examine their career choice is brought on by actions totally beyond their control, such as mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, layoffs and restructuring. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 20 million Americans change jobs each year.

The bottom line for all these individuals is that they find themselves facing a career choice. The more real-world, practical information they can gather about a particular profession, the better the chance their selection will be a good fit.

Interviewing real-world professionals about their careers

Career development directors on campuses throughout the country, as well as career counselors within American industry and business, always recommend having as many "informational interviews" as possible before making a decision. The more advice students receive from real-world professionals, the more informed their decisions will be.

But just what questions should you ask those whose profession you are considering pursuing? The goal should be to ask questions that will produce more than the traditional well-tailored marketing pitches often found in promotional materials produced by representatives of various professions. What you should be after are candid "insider" observations about "the good, the bad and the ugly" of a profession. During these critical informational interviews you need to include questions such as:

  • "How would you compare the reality of your profession to the picture you had of it while in school?"

  • "What most surprised you about your chosen profession?

  • "What are the best parts of your career?"

  • "What are the least enjoyable aspects of your profession?"

  • "How many hours do you work each week at your career?"

  • "Have you found advancement within your profession easy or difficult?"

  • "What do you spend most of your day doing? Describe a typical day."

  • "What changes do you foresee for your profession in the future? Do you find your daily job fulfilling?"

  • "Would you choose the same career again? "

    Discovering our goals and expectations

    Most of us approach choosing a career based on a variety of criteria such as salary, hours, advancement opportunities, health insurance coverage and geographical location. Yet in search for our life's career, most of us ignore the most critical component -- will we be happy in our chosen profession? In our capitalistic society, money is the way we keep score. Who has the highest salary, the biggest house, the coolest car? Who goes to the best schools or travels to the most exotic places? It is easy to get caught up in such comparisons, and yet as the years fly by, it can begin to feel like a race with no finish line.

    Yet aren't our careers and professions about more than just making money? What if we focused on becoming enriched rather than just rich? What if we kept score not in comparison with others, but with ourselves, with our own goals and expectations? To discover these goals and expectations, there is one question we can ask ourselves that gets to the core of selecting the right profession -- if you had all the money you needed, what career would you choose for your life?

    In other words, if you didn't have to work, how would you spend your time each day? There is only so much golf one can play and beaches one can walk on before the brain starts to turn to mush. As individuals, most of us seek an intellectually stimulating life --one that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. This has been a universal yearning for centuries. Shakespeare wrote over 400 years ago, "To business that we love we rise betime, and go to't with delight."

    We all have different dreams and expectations, and none of us can ignore our monetary obligations for long. If we are going to have to work to support ourselves and our families, wouldn't it be a more delightful world (as Shakespeare noted) if we loved what we did? Doesn't it make sense to be paid for doing work you enjoy rather than for work you simply tolerate? Rather than select a career that pays well and then hope it makes you happy, we should all strive to select a profession that makes us happy, and let the monetary rewards be derived from our your productive and creative efforts at a daily endeavor we enjoy.

    Career advice from Hollywood

    I have always loved movies, especially ones based on books. In a scene from 1985s Oscar-winning best picture, "Out of Africa," Robert Redford (portraying an English big game hunter living in Africa) tells Meryl Streep (who plays his lover): "I don't want to come to the end of my life and realize I have lived someone else's version of it."

    The secret for all of us is first to identity the version of the life we want to live, and then not be afraid to live it.

    Based on the book "The Career Chronicles: An Insider's Guide To What Jobs Are Really Like," by Michael Gregory, River Valley Ventures, LLC. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, Calif.

    Michael Gregory is an author and former attorney who followed his dream of being a writer. In his book, "The Career Chronicles," he examines two-dozen different professions, from nurses and pharmacists to architects and attorneys. "The Career Chronicles" contains candid comments, insights, and observations from over 750 professionals from around the country about the "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of their chosen careers.


  • As we progress through our educational pursuits, we all are faced with one of the most important decisions of our lives: "What do I want to do with my life?"

    There are over 16 million students enrolled in colleges and universities in the United States. A very large percentage of these students entered without a clue as to what career or profession they should select. Yet at some point, relatively early in their collegiate experience, they must declare a major.

    For most students, the decision is rarely a clear one. For many it can extend the time it takes to graduate because they elect to change their major at least once. These individuals come to a realization that the career path they mapped out for themselves does not fit their goals, their personality or their picture of the future. Others simply defer this pivotal life decision by escaping into graduate school, hoping that immersion into a particular area of concentration will somehow provide them with the career direction they are seeking.

    Even those individuals who felt drawn to a particular profession early in their college life can find after several years of real world experience, that their initial image of a career and the realities of such are vastly different. And for millions of other Americans each year, the need to re-examine their career choice is brought on by actions totally beyond their control, such as mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, layoffs and restructuring. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 20 million Americans change jobs each year.

    The bottom line for all these individuals is that they find themselves facing a career choice. The more real-world, practical information they can gather about a particular profession, the better the chance their selection will be a good fit.

    Interviewing real-world professionals about their careers

    Career development directors on campuses throughout the country, as well as career counselors within American industry and business, always recommend having as many "informational interviews" as possible before making a decision. The more advice students receive from real-world professionals, the more informed their decisions will be. 

    But just what questions should you ask those whose profession you are considering pursuing? The goal should be to ask questions that will produce more than the traditional well-tailored marketing pitches often found in promotional materials produced by representatives of various professions. What you should be after are candid "insider" observations about "the good, the bad and the ugly" of a profession.  During these critical informational interviews you need to include questions such as:

  • "How would you compare the reality of your profession to the picture you had of it while in school?"

  • "What most surprised you about your chosen profession?

  • "What are the best parts of your career?"

  • "What are the least enjoyable aspects of your profession?"

  • "How many hours do you work each week at your career?"

  • "Have you found advancement within your profession easy or difficult?"

  • "What do you spend most of your day doing? Describe a typical day."

  • "What changes do you foresee for your profession in the future? Do you find your daily job fulfilling?"

  • "Would you choose the same career again? "

    Discovering our goals and expectations

    Most of us approach choosing a career based on a variety of criteria such as salary, hours, advancement opportunities, health insurance coverage and geographical location. Yet in search for our life's career, most of us ignore the most critical component -- will we be happy in our chosen profession?  In our capitalistic society, money is the way we keep score. Who has the highest salary, the biggest house, the coolest car? Who goes to the best schools or travels to the most exotic places? It is easy to get caught up in such comparisons, and yet as the years fly by, it can begin to feel like a race with no finish line.

    Yet aren't our careers and professions about more than just making money? What if we focused on becoming enriched rather than just rich? What if we kept score not in comparison with others, but with ourselves, with our own goals and expectations? To discover these goals and expectations, there is one question we can ask ourselves that gets to the core of selecting the right profession -- if you had all the money you needed, what career would you choose for your life?

    In other words, if you didn't have to work, how would you spend your time each day? There is only so much golf one can play and beaches one can walk on before the brain starts to turn to mush. As individuals, most of us seek an intellectually stimulating life --one that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. This has been a universal yearning for centuries. Shakespeare wrote over 400 years ago, "To business that we love we rise betime, and go to't with delight."

    We all have different dreams and expectations, and none of us can ignore our monetary obligations for long. If we are going to have to work to support ourselves and our families, wouldn't it be a more delightful world (as Shakespeare noted) if we loved what we did? Doesn't it make sense to be paid for doing work you enjoy rather than for work you simply tolerate?  Rather than select a career that pays well and then hope it makes you happy, we should all strive to select a profession that makes us happy, and let the monetary rewards be derived from our your productive and creative efforts at a daily endeavor we enjoy.

    Career advice from Hollywood

    I have always loved movies, especially ones based on books. In a scene from 1985s Oscar-winning best picture, "Out of Africa," Robert Redford (portraying an English big game hunter living in Africa) tells Meryl Streep (who plays his lover): "I don't want to come to the end of my life and realize I have lived someone else's version of it." 

    The secret for all of us is first to identity the version of the life we want to live, and then not be afraid to live it.

    Based on the book "The Career Chronicles: An Insider's Guide To What Jobs Are Really Like," by Michael Gregory, River Valley Ventures, LLC. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, Calif.

    Michael Gregory is an author and former attorney who followed his dream of being a writer. In his book, "The Career Chronicles," he examines two-dozen different professions, from nurses and pharmacists to architects and attorneys.  "The Career Chronicles" contains candid comments, insights, and observations from over 750 professionals from around the country about the "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of their chosen careers.



  • Last Updated: 10/07/2008 - 4:19 PM


    Article Reprints
    Permission must be obtained from CareerBuilder.com to reprint any of its articles. Please send a request to reprints@careerbuilder.com.

    CareerBuilder.com Customer Service: 866-438-1485 - CareerBuilder.com Privacy Policy - Terms of Service - House Rules


    HOME ABOUT IPMC CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS BENEFITS CONTACT US TRAINING

    The IPMC ™ International Project Management Commission and The American Academy of Project Management ™ LLC. All rights reserved 2006
    Site design and maintenance by AAPM Design
    ~ Post and Search PM Project Management Jobs ~

    Management Jobs Marketing Jobs Flag Logo

    Executive Waiver or Advanced Standing - Project Management Masters Degree Programs - Military Advanced Standing - Finance - Business Schools - E-Business